Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tharavu Curry – Kerala Style Duck Curry

With our feet up on the coffee table, holding hands and watching television, cozily snuggled under a soft fabric, the chillness of which caressing my skin as the cool breezy night winds stream through the French windows, my brain was busy recollecting the taste and fragrance of the ghee flavored rice my tastebuds soaked up that noon for lunch……and I heard myself asking CJJ:

"….ennathe neichoru nalla ruchi aayirunnalle…?.entho onnu different aayirunnu…. “ ( . that ghee rice tasted great today…something was different, wasn’t it? )

He responded sharing the same tone and depth of satisfaction …” sherikkum…..nalla adipoli aayirunnu…..njan randu moonnu thavana eduthu…..” ( truly….it was awesome.. I went for 2-3 servings)

….njanum kore kazhichu….” I replied and with a playful smile tucked around the corner of my lips, I added hesitantly yet with a pinch of pride in my words “ njan ondakkeethaa….. :)” ( me too had lotss…..you know, I made it ? )

Even before the words got slipped into air, he blurted out the next line, “ pakshe aa curry ugran aayirunnu…..athaa athrem kazhiche….” ( but that curry tasted awesome….that’s why I had so much of food..

That was like an unexpected slap on my face…… a gentle slap smeared with love. I didn’t feel bad as the curry under discussion was my mother’s duck curry and I knew how much of care and attention to detail had gone into the preparation of the same. I have never been able to understand and appreciate the depth of flavours in this particular dish as I am not a duck lover, to put it mildly but I have always noticed duck curry enthusiasts like CJJ and my uncle relishing her work of art with disturbing silence at the table which is a true indication of their approval and appreciation of the dish. Sharpness from the roasted powdered spices gets well balanced with the mild sweetness of the coconut milk and the potato wedges dunked in the pool, soak up the heat and fatty flavours of the meat and spices like a sponge. Adding coconut milk to meat preparations is a method that got introduced to my mother’s kitchen through our extended family members hailing from the Thrissur region of Kerala and from the time she realised the depth of taste the oil adds when coconut milk gets slow-cooked while simmering, she has been adding coconut milk to this particular duck preparation.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients: (Approx.)
To Marinate:
  • Around 1 kg Duck, cut and cleaned into pieces
  • ¼ cup coriander powder, lightly dry roasted
  • 4 tsp ( or to taste ) red chilly powder, lightly dry roasted
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder, freshly made
  • 1 tsp homemade masala powder/garam masala
  • 3 tsp ginger and garlic paste, freshly made
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 whole potato, medium size, washed and cleaned
To Sauté & Cook :
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 big onion, thinly sliced ( around 1 cup)
  • 1 cup small red pearl onion , thinly sliced
  • 6-8 Indian green chillies, slit lengthwise
  • 1 ½ inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 medium cloves of garlic, thinly sliced ( Optional/ As per taste & tolerance)
  • 1 tsp + 1 tsp homemade masala powder/garam masala
  • ½ cup freshly extracted coconut milk, medium consistency
  • 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cup water or as required
  • 1 large sprig of curry leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Marinate duck with all the spices and herbs, listed under the marinate section, except the whole potato and leave it covered on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes.
  • After the 30 minutes window, place the whole potato on top of the marinated meat layer in a pressure cooker and pressure cook until cooked and soft. Duck usually takes more time to get cooked, compared to chicken.
  • Heat oil in a mann-chatti/clay pot or a large wok; sauté thinly sliced big onion and small onion till they begin to turn soft; now add thinly sliced ginger, garlic and green chillies and cook till it leaves an aroma. At this stage, add homemade masala powder and stir in low-medium heat, until a nice whiff of aroma comes; remove the cooked whole potato from the pressure cooker and add only cooked meat to this masala base and also add little water, about ¼ cup to the pressure cooker to wipe off the traces of spices and herbs from the cooker , to add to the cooking pot. Let it sit together for 1-2 minutes, in heat. Meanwhile, peel off the skin and gently cut the potato into wedges and add to the meat . Add ½ cup medium consistency coconut milk and mix everything well ; to this pour about 1 ¼ cup water or just enough to cover the meat ( mainly to get the gravy), and bring to a boil in medium heat. Add curry leaves and 1 tsp homemade masala powder and mix well and let it simmer for another 20-30 minutes, in low heat, till the gravy thickens and the oil coating ( from the fatty meat as well as the freshly extracted coconut milk) floats on top. Switch off the stove and let it sit for atleast 30-60 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with rice or any leavened or unleavened bread.
Related posts:
Mutton Curry Ghee Rice Roast Chicken Vegetable Ghee rice Kerala Chicken Stew

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  1. Oru rakshayumillallo...kidilan, adipoli..iniyendha...kurachu palappam koodi undengil..ohhhh vayikkode titanic odikkam...nale vayarinendengilum patiyal...enne orkaruthu kettooo...superb dear..My altime fav dish....

  2. In fact I was wondering why you havent posted a duck recipe yet.But this has come as a real pleasure with straight aroma into my nose and deep requests to my tummy..lol on that sweet slap.(am sure CJJ is right with his stand there..the curry looks that tempting esp with curry chutty).The real prob with Duck meat is to get the good one.Thats impossible often.hoping to try this soon.

  3. Thing of beauty is a joy forever !!!
    Pics r absolutely marvelous...
    u wont believe today I hv dry roti and dal in my tiffin (cums frm tiffin center)
    I finished my entire dabba lukng at my laptop screen ...
    Satyam hw my miss my mom !!!
    These r recipes tht mk me proud non-vegetarian !!!

  4. I have never tasted duck curry.....But the photo makes me drool.Should try once.

  5. Hi Shn,

    Vayil Valam varun:) Tharavu curry and appam are my favourite combination.
    As I was reading the post,it took me on a nostalgic trip back to Niranam and my grandmother making the tharavu curry in the urli YUM...... These were the small things that my sister & me would look forward to on our vacation trips to Niranam.Anyways those were the good old precious days & I hope atleast I can give my son a bit of those precious days feel for him to remember and pass on to his kids.

    As always, Pics look awesome


  6. That looks absolute mouth watering. I have been dying to try out some duck dishes but amma keeps dissuading me saying it hardly has any flesh unlike chicken!! Hear that palappam and tharavu curry combo is too good!! :-)Bookmarked!!


  7. Never tried making duck, well I wonder if same masala will taste good in Chicken curry?

  8. This makes me hungry!!! Duck curry, now that must be good...

  9. This looks so delicious ...
    hugs and smiles

  10. Oh yummm! That looks so delicious! Thanks for the recipe, this looks like a definitely-must-try one.
    BTW, a claypot? This is a first for me. I'm used to making fish in clay vessels but havent heard of poultry being made in them too. How different does it taste from that made in the usual woks? What I mean is ... is it such a super-fantastic difference that you would advise me to run out and buy a clay pot for this?

  11. Njanoru comment post cheytharunnallo endiye athu....delete cheytho...? Tharavu curry oru rakshayum illa ketto thakarppan. Kothiyavunnu sherikkum.

  12. What a wonderful tharavucurry.Kothiyakunnu?Where did u buy the duck?

  13. it was nice of u to post this tharavu curry .... i will surely try to make it reminded me in allaphuzha kallu shapppu where we always stopped to taste tharavu curry i never find any where tasty than
    i would like to have recepie of
    kaka irachi thooranan , and chamanthipodi.....plz post

  14. adipoliynnu ketto .... more than the recipie i like the photos in blog,the way the food is appetizing . let me know who is taking the picture ,
    and let me tell u some i tried ur aval payasam came out good and the meat roll also ..
    surely i will try duck curry ....can u post recepie for perattal (roast) it would be nice
    any ways good luck for ur blog

  15. Looks like you guys talk ONLY abt food all the time huh;)

    Not much of a duck guy,loved the picture though.

    Ippo entha kurachu kalamayi oru thani nadan dishes modi lanallo

  16. enikku vayyaeee ithonnum kaanan.Tharavu karreee, kuzhalappam... onnum parayendeee.. njangal angottu vidunnnuu....

  17. waaah..this looks extremely appetizing...for a moment i wished that i could be transported to some kallu shop along the changancherry-alleppy road..;-D
    I am confused now what i should request you to make if I ever visit your place..;-D

    Btw..I made kerala mutton curry yday..based on your recipe..turned out to be awesome!! danke schon!!;-)

  18. Kandittu thannai vaayil vellam varunnu.eppo thannai try cheythu nookanamnnu undu.But i dont know from where to get the duck ?

  19. wow. i want to taste this now.. i am squeamish about new meats even thou i am a non veg eater!so u can just send me over a plateful with ur appams alongside.

  20. What a coincidence shn,
    Vanitha also featured a duck roast in their oct issue.

  21. Hi Shn,

    Nyan innu ente hubbyodu duck inte karayam paranjathe ullu and then it ha sbeen long time since I checked ur blog.. So i thought of checking it and found all the good recipies that i have been waiting for. I went to India last month and got a achappam mould and saw that recipe too.. thank u for sharing all the good recipes..

    one question for u.. where can i get duck in US ? any sugeestions?
    and also where can i get ellu ??

    Thank u..


  22. Hey Shn,
    Christmas time and I rely only on your recipes this time.:).
    Do you think chicken will come out good if I use this recipe??

  23. Jina, i havent tried, but you sure can , as at my place chicken is cooked in coconut milk as well. you may stop with one whistle while pressure cooking as chicken gets cooked fast , since more cooking is on the way, better to stop at one whistle. Also, you might need to adjust the spices as duck meat requires little more of everything unlike chicken....you may even skip pressure cooking and do everything in the pan itself...

    Btw, Merry X'mas & Happy New Year to both of you :)

  24. superb!!!!!!!!!! my all time fav....i like dis with appam,chappathi,puttu,dosa...my fav combo is with rice....but here v dont get duck.. i have tried ur mutton recipie(mutton curry),,,it was awesome..thank u soooooooo much for these delicious recipies....


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